Mayor Don Wesely today presented the Mayor's Award of Excellence for the month of February to a team of Sergeants and Officers from the Lincoln Police Department. The monthly award recognizes city employees who consistently provide exemplary service and work that demonstrates personal commitment to the city. The awards were presented at the beginning of today's City Council meeting.
Honored for February were Sergeants Donald Scheinost and Thomas Hamm and Officers Matthew Franken, Christopher Champoux, Michael Barry, Shane Alesch and Matthew Brodd. The were nominated by Captain Jim Thoms in the category of valor for their actions as first responders to an apartment house fire at 4112 Huntington on December 31, 2000.
At 3:30 a.m., with temperatures near zero, the police were dispatched to a fire in a six-unit, three-story building with people trapped inside. The first officers on the scene advised that the building was fully engulfed in fire, with flames extending as far as 30 feet above the roof and dark smoke. The stair area between the apartment units was consumed by fire, and the only way out of the building for those trapped was to exit exterior windows. Four adults and nine children, including five infants, were trapped inside the building. The officers encouraged the adults to drop the children to them and then to jump themselves. The victims were then placed in warm police cruisers, and their medical needs were tended to until ambulances arrived.
Charles Triggs, the resident in the garden level apartment who discovered the fire and made the call to 911, said the police arrived about half a minute after he called. Triggs credits the fast response with saving lives.
"Amazingly, the only injuries to the residents were minor lacerations and smoke inhalation." said Mayor Wesely. "All the officers performed heroic feats in rescuing the residents from the burning building, and there is not doubt the quick actions of the officers prevented a more tragic outcome." The other categories in which employees can be nominated are customer relations, productivity, safety and loss prevention. All city employees are eligible for the Mayor's Award of Excellence except for elected officials and some managers. Individuals or teams can be nominated by supervisors, peers, subordinates and the general public.
Nomination forms are available from department heads, employee bulletin boards or the Personnel Department , which oversees the awards program. All nominations are reviewed by the Mayor's Award of Excellence Committee, which includes a representative with each union and a non-union representative appointed by the Mayor.
Award winners receive a $100 U.S. savings bond, a day off with pay and a plaque. Monthly winners are eligible to receive the annual award, which comes with a $500 U.S. savings bond, two days off with pay and a plaque.